Speakers Series

Fall 2019:  Lectures on 17th, 18th, and 19th-Century Literature and Culture
Lectures open to students, staff, faculty, and the public.


Thomas H. Luxon


Thursday, October 17
12:40-2 pm
240 Hamilton Smith Hall

Thomas H. Luxon, “Digital Milton.”  

Professor Luxon is the General Editor of “The John Milton Reading Room.” The Milton Reading Room was designed and developed in the Neukom DALI Lab by undergraduate students in the computer science department at Dartmouth College. The Milton Reading Room, like most websites, is (and will always be) a work in progress. The goal is to present a fully annotated and hyperlinked version of Milton’s English works, verse and prose. This will place The Milton Reading Room in the midst of the virtual library that the web is rapidly becoming. Professor Luxon believes that “Milton should be read and studied from inside a library, and the web makes this possible on a scale only recently imagined.” He will demonstrate how to use The Milton Reading Room to open up new vistas in Milton scholarship. His talk will appeal not only to Miltonists but also to all scholars interested or engaged in digital humanities research.

Professor Luxon is Professor of English at Dartmouth College. His most recent book is “Single Imperfection”: Milton, Marriage and Friendship, Duquesne University Press.


Aston Gonzalez


Friday, November 1
240 Hamilton Smith

Aston Gonzalez, "Visualizing Equality: African American Champions of Race, Rights, and Visual Culture." 

The fight for black rights in the nineteenth century took place not only at marches, political conventions, and courthouses; the fight included print and visual culture created and circulated by African Americans. This talk examines these images and how black artists encouraged people to see and understand race. 

Professor Gonzalez is Assistant Professor of History at Salisbury University and currently a Fellow at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston. His book, Visualizing Equality: African American Champions of Race, Rights, and Visual Culture, is forthcoming with the University of North Carolina Press.


Michael Brown


Wednesday, November 20
240 Hamilton Smith

Michael Brown, “The Gaiety of Nations: Irish Bulls and English Malapropisms in the Work of Maria Edgeworth.”

This paper uses Maria Edgeworth's study of a joke form, Essay on Irish Bulls (1802) to examine the vexed relationship between the Irish and English in the late eighteenth century. It seeks to situate the Irish in the weave of emergent British identity, and questions what might be funny about jokes that rely on ethnic caricature. It teases out how Edgeworth worked to subvert these presumptions in pursuit of a novel forms of island identities in the immediate aftermath of the 1800 Act of Union between Britain and Ireland. In doing so the paper raises questions about the nature and content of politeness in the period; the standardisation of the English language; the expectation of assimilation; and the resistance to cultural imperialism at the heart of British society. 

Michael Brown holds a chair in Irish, Scottish and Enlightenment History at the University of Aberdeen, where is also co-Director of the Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies. The author of The Irish Enlightenment  (Harvard University Press, 2016), he has also written biographical studies of Francis Hutcheson and John Toland. He is currently writing a textbook on The Cultural History of Europe, 1688-1914 and a study entitled Making Up Britain in the Eighteenth Century.